Jiva Urban Agriculture system Pvt. Ltd. (JUAS) is an e-commerce based health food store of Nepal which focuses on promoting healthy food habits in Nepali Market.
In conversation with Pranay Karki, the founder of JUAS.
1. Tell me about your entrepreneurial journey? When did it start?
My entrepreneurial journey started in the year 2010 where I tried many ventures from dairy farming in Chitwan to importing of Ornamental Fish. The journey of JUAS began in 2015, from the concept of green products like waste recycling and urban farming.
Waste recycling and urban farming were primarily my hobbies which took the shape of this venture. However, soon after we began our operations, we realized that the Nepali market was not ready for our products such as biodigester (biogas from kitchen wastes). So we changed our business model from waste recycling to health-focused fast-moving consumer goods that include beauty and health products like virgin coconut oil, pure ghee, purified shilajit resin, and others.
2. What is the social problem that you are trying to solve? What social change do you see your product or service bring about in society?
Through JUAS, we are trying to give the market an option of healthy food. There are many food products in Kathmandu labeled “organic”, but people have minimal knowledge about what organic products really are. So through our website and blogs, we’re trying to educate the public about nutrition, diet, fitness so that they can make better eating decisions.
At the same time, we are also providing them with a ketogenic diet plan on referral basis and ingredients like virgin coconut oil and superfoods like Moringa, Chia Seeds, Quinoa, etc.
3. How do you market your products besides digital or conventional marketing?
We are particularly focused on the strength of word of mouth in Nepal to gain the market. We provide special consultations to special customers who purchase our main product- the Keto-coffee. These consultations include ways to lose weight to the buyers of Keto-coffee who then spread the knowledge to other prospective clients because they see results.
We have been adopting this technique for more than a year and a half now. This has also been really helpful and has allowed us to grow our business and reach out to more customers. Our main focus is growing our own online health food store and focusing on selling in higher volumes through daraz as a vendor.
4. How many customers (monthly basis) or clients do you have and how many products do you offer?
We have served more than two thousand clients till now through referral basis. However, the number of clients we receive varies on a daily basis. We currently offer 15 products in our product line and are planning to launch our new product Apple Cider Vinegar made from local apples soon.
5. What is your current staff strength and how many people did you start with?
I began JUAS solely but today I have two partners- Bibek Neupane and Apurva Ojha. Currently, we have 5 employees working with us. We also have four to five blue-collar workers who work in processing and packaging.
6. Do you think your business has market potential and profitability?
Definitely. Although our enterprise faced many challenges in the initial days, it is currently making profits. The main credit for this goes to our adaptability where we pivoted our business model from offering waste management solution to health food-related online FMCG. JUAS has in fact been one of my most successful ventures in the last decade.
7. How did you raise funds to start your company? And what has been your investment to date?
In order to start JUAS, I had multiple passive as well as active partners who invested in my company. Initially, there were five investors but now there are two partners, excluding myself, who devote funds to the company.
Till date, we have individually invested 15 lakhs each and for the past 1.5 years, the enterprise is running in profits and has thus been able to sustain itself.
8. What is your future plan with your company?
The future plan of JUAS is to increase its services to the foreign market through export. Our vision is to grow globally and expand the reach of Nepalese herbal products.
Considering this, we have revamped our website and through blogs and YouTube videos, we will be educating our customers on how to manage nutrition and adopt healthy habits and lifestyle. We are also trying to automate our systems through digitalization to scale-up so that there are no bottlenecks for the growth of our business.
9. What are the key needs of your company?
Our needs are technology-based and we’re also trying to streamline the management. We are trying to automate our systems because that is the way for innovation, and we want to automate most of our business components from sales to human resources.
10. Do you consider yourself as a Social Entrepreneur?
People do not find quality products in the market while looking for high-quality foods to lead a healthy life. JUAS is an enterprise providing high-quality authentic products and necessary solutions which is impacting the lives of our customers. Hence, in this context, I would definitely consider myself a social entrepreneur.
If you would like to more about this company then connect with them on Facebook or write to them directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out their store to find out the products they sell- JUAS store.